Odds & Ends
Eric J. Garcia
Dateline: England —Homes were evacuated, a main road was closed and a controlled explosion was set off after a “suspicious package” was found attached to a bridge in Pease Pottage, West Sussex. In the end, some bats were mighty pissed. The A23 and the B2110 highways were both closed for several hours after an Army bomb disposal team was called in to investigate. Several nearby homes were evacuated and motorists experienced long delays as the mysterious box was destroyed without incident. The British Highways Agency eventually identified the suspicious package as a bat box being used as part of a wildlife survey. “We are working on ways to improve identification of our property to avoid a repeat of the incident,” a B.H.A. spokesperson told the BBC.
Dateline: Florida —Last Tuesday, police in New Port Richey chased down a blue Ford Explorer they believe was driven by 40-year-old Michael Francis Wiley —Pasco County’s most notorious traffic violator despite the fact he has no arms and only one leg. The incident began when police spotted the Explorer parked at a convenience store off U.S. 19 at 12:50 p.m. Capt. Darryl Garman told the St. Petersburg Times the Explorer sped off when an officer approached to investigate. A brief chase involving two squad cars ensued, but officers eventually broke off the pursuit because they felt it might put the public in danger. The next day, police issued an arrest warrant for Wiley —not only because the three-time amputee fit the rather specific description of the runaway driver, but because this is not his first scrape with the law. The single-limbed speeder is known by local law enforcement for “habitually driving with a revoked license.” In 1998, while driving a green Corvette, Wiley led deputies down Interstate 75 at nearly 120 mph. According to court records, Wiley has also stolen a car, kicked a state trooper and once attacked his wife with his head. He is currently awaiting trial on separate drug and illegal-driving charges. Despite his shortage of appendages, Wiley is said to be perfectly competent driving a stick shift. “He is one of the best drivers I have ever seen in my life,” Lee Michie, a longtime acquaintance, told the Times. “But he’s the worst person I’ve ever met.”
Dateline: Indiana —A man found trapped unconscious for more than three hours beneath a 1,000-pound tombstone in a Merrillville cemetery faces charges and might have to pay for damages. According to police, Michael David Schreiber’s legs were broken by the stone and the family name on the grave marker left the letter “V” stamped on his thigh. It took five officers to remove the toppled headstone from Schreiber’s body last Sunday morning at Calumet Park Cemetery. Schreiber told police he and a companion had been drinking before going to the cemetery. Schreiber, 22, faces charges of criminal trespassing, criminal mischief and public intoxication. He might also be ordered to pay for damage to 14 headstones.
Dateline: Wisconsin —The 2nd District Appeals court in Madison refused recently to overturn the conviction of a prisoner who was found guilty of sending a threatening letter to the judge who sent him to jail. Anthony Dwayne Turner tried to argue that no one had actually seen him write a letter threatening to kill Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer. Nonetheless, the court ruled that, since Turner included his name and return address with the letter, there was sufficient evidence to tack six more years onto his sentence. A jury convicted Turner in 2004 of sending the letter to Kieffer, who had sentenced Turner to 15 years in prison a year earlier on assault-by-a-prisoner and reckless injury charges. Turner appealed the conviction, but the court refused to overturn it, noting that the envelope containing the death threat was marked with Turner’s name, inmate number and the address of the prison in Green Bay.
Dateline: Massachusetts —Two female college students who bared their bellies at a lacrosse game apparently couldn’t stomach a front-page newspaper photo of their stunt and are now in trouble for swiping copies. The photo in Framingham State College’s The Gatepost featured seven fans at a women’s lacrosse game with “I [heart] N-O-O-N-A-N” —the name of a friend on the team —spelled out across their exposed bellies. The students were wearing hip-hugger shorts and tank tops. Campus police won’t pursue criminal charges, but two students could face disciplinary action —including a possible monetary reimbursement for the pilfered papers. English professor Desmond McCarthy, the newspaper’s faculty adviser, said he was told by other students the women who took the papers did so because they thought they looked fat. “This is the most stupid reason the paper has been stolen,” said McCarthy, adding that editions of The Gatepost have been stolen four times in the past 15 years. Megan Turner, The Gatepost’s editor in chief, said about half of the 2,000-paper press run disappeared, though 18-year-old Jennifer Carsillo, a freshman from Salem, Conn., admitted to only stealing about 130 copies. “I just kind of got caught up in the moment and grabbed a whole bunch,” Carsillo told The Boston Globe.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.